Existential Whiplash

I Never fail to forget how hard these are to write. After two back to back conferences and all the lengthy travel there and back again, I should be brimming with words and thoughts and all kinds of declarations of dreams. And I very well am, mind you. The one-two punch of BDYHAX followed up by Loopconf has left quite a heaping sum of thought on my mind. It’s the post mortem processing that’s taking a pinch longer than anticipated. Should I write up about each separately? The adventure as a whole? Technical breakdowns? Play by play? Barely lucid but colorful prose on the underlying existential crisis all throughout? Nothing? Anything?

Loop was freshest on my mind. I’m in love with the web and code, but I’m so terribly out of love with the business ends of it all. What a radical statement, huh? Next thing y’know, I’ll claim that bread heels make unsatisfying sandwiches and it’s hard to sleep after a pot of coffee. Revolutionary, I. Still, it’s been tough to shake the sudden surge of distressing boredom and ennui brewed by the first day’s workshop. The talks by day 2 were better, and by day 3 I was back on board again. But spending 2.5 hours in that workshop being talked at by a man with less passion than scraps of cardboard after the rain? Who talked of code with all the personality of the back of a Organic Raw Whole Grain Fiber Cereal for the Elderly? Even the phrase ‘talked at’ feels generous; in all honestly it felt like the words were simply being made to happen and I was just in the room at the same time. The whole conference continued to carry with strange, uncomfortable feeling even after. Things were mostly good (minus my colleague dropping his phone down a 75 ft deep chasm of hot mineral water and mine kicking off LG’s now almost famous bootloop-of-death mode), but something still felt out of place. I certainly felt out of place. I’m thinking I’ve just spoiled myself with cons; 99% of the ones I attend are for personal reasons and never actually ‘business’, so being at a con with everyone’s in Industry Professional Mode was more draining than I anticipated? A sea of industry-logo pockmarked dull-colored Ts paired with brown crew cuts and sticker-bare office macbooks is the kind of sea it takes to drown my heart I guess.

I think part of why loop carried this slightly sour taste with it was timing. I had only just gotten back from BodyHackingCon, which was ab absolute blast to attend and volunteer for! For a con so in love with Cyborgs and Technology, everyone was so vibrantly and engagingly human. There were fascinating intersections of talents and passions, highlighted by some great panels. On stage and off, I got to listen to perspectives on everything from the practical concerns of DIY enhancement and development to the very natures of violence itself. Chilling on a hotel floor at 3 in the morning chatting with friends about the nature of human existence is my kind of con experience. There’s so much I want to write about that weekend. The surreal scene of watching 6th street flooding with exuberant humans from atop some cyberpunked-out bar, glitchy doom ambiance reverberating over the din of drunk, neon revelry is a scene I’ll carry around for a while as I continue to put more thoughts down to text.

On that note, there might be an up coming Grinder event on the east coast this October. Similar to Grindfest, but Fall instead of spring and along the Atlantic instead of Pacific. It’s far from official, but I really hope it works out. This puts 4 major biohacking cons on my calendar a year, perfectly spaced at 3 months apart. BDYHAX, Grindfest, Defcon, and then whatever this ends up being. Having these nicely defined quarters will hopefully make setting goals for personal and community projects easier and far, far more rewarding. Planning a 3 month cycle to have a specific small goal is easier than having a full year and hoping you have the discipline to stick to your schedules. (It should be absolutely clear at this point that I completely and utterly fail at the later option).

Three months ALSO pass by faster than they have any right to, unfortunately. Moved my lab around some more again to try and facilitate letting myself just dive in, but it hasn’t been helpful and deadlines don’t just stop existing when my motivation does. Bench is too short, surface is too high, and my gods has my financial situation just been redder and deader than ever. Turns out that can really take the air out of my brain’s tires! Original plan was to bunker down, pay off some debts, get back on my feet, and get my hands on a space larger than a closet outside the city after three years or so. Those plans seem to be dashed. This is fine, though. There’s romance in scraping by. In sleeping cycles dictated by ephedrine breakfasts and 2am vodka nightcaps. In scavenging what scraps lay around me and forging what suits my needs. In losing myself in development again. Still not sure why that last one’s been broken for a few months now, and I won’t really have any answers until June. Till then, I guess I’ll just keep battening down the hatches.


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